Fulani herdsmen will resist attempt to flush them out of South-West — Miyetti Allah
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) has restated its stance that its members, who are predominantly Fulani herdsmen, will resist any attempt to flush them out of the South-Western region of the country.
The group said it’s unconstitutional for anybody, regardless of their status or position, to evict another citizen from any part of the country.
Miyetti Allah also vowed to avenge the alleged attacks on and loss of herdsmen and their cattle, saying it would never tolerate any act of injustice on herders.
The National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Mr Alhassan Saleh, stated these in an interview with Punch newspaper
Saleh said it was wrong to drive herders out of any part of Nigeria and that even if there were criminals among them, it was the function of the government’s security forces to identify and arrest them.
He said the eviction of herdsmen from the southern region of the country was a dangerous precedent and that the best way to solve the herders-farmers crisis was for state governments to provide ranches and grazing routes for the herders and their animals.
Saleh said this against the background of the resolve of some Southerners to rid the region of killer-herdsmen who have been alleged of kidnappings, raping and allied crimes by their various host communities.
This development has caused many host communities to issue eviction notices to the herdsmen with some youth in the affected communities threatening to resort to self-help if the appropriate authorities fail to come to their aid.
The most recent of such threat was from Yewa Youth Association who wrote Governor Dapo Abiodun to rise to the occasion or they take laws into their own hands to rid their communities of marauding herdsmen.
Before the letter by the Yewa Youth Association, a non-actor, Sunday Adeyemo, better known as Sunday Igboho, had gained prominence when he asked Fulani herdsmen allegedly terrorising Igangan community in Ibarapa North Local Government of Oyo State to leave the state on or before seven days.
Igboho, who passed the eviction message through the Seriki Fulani of the community, did not renege on his promise as he was at Igangan to enforce the eviction on the seventh day.
However, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore National Secretary, Saleh, said no group could evict the herders, vowing to resist any eviction from the South-West.
He said, “Nobody has the right (to evict herdsmen). If you say you are going to evict us, we will resist eviction. We have been surviving in harsh environments; if we do not resist, we will be wiped out of the planet. If you kill a herder, don’t go and sleep, we will revisit you, and it’s not because we hate your tribe. People attack herders, and in one way or the other, herders have found a way to retaliate.”
Also, Saleh said nobody could bar foreign herdsmen from entering Nigeria, saying most of the herders entering to the country once settled in Nigeria but relocated to other neighbouring countries like Ghana and Benin republics.
He said, “All those who travelled to the Benin Republic and others are coming back home. All those saying they will bar foreign herders from entering Nigeria are just playing to the gallery because if they are aware of the ECOWAS Protocols, they would know they cannot chase them away. That is why the position of the Bauchi State Governor [Bala Mohammed] is the true position. You have no right to evict anybody from any part of the country.
“Our number has increased recently because of the tension in Ghana and Benin republics. The ones in Benin Republic have integrated with the Yoruba in such a way that they speak the language. They were initially living in the South-West, and they are coming back,” he added.
Saleh described the eviction notice to herders as propaganda adding that “innocent” herders were becoming the casualties.
He said, “They expected a reaction from us, maybe by way of attacking other ethnic nationalities. But that is wrong because the herders they are attacking are the innocent herders. Are the criminals representing anybody? They are doing their criminal enterprise. Our own pain is that the people who are supposed to know are pretending as if they don’t know.”
Similarly, the leaders of Miyetti Allah in some states in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones have said they are not ready to leave the regions anytime soon.